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Fourth quarter spark lifts Pitman over Merced
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Pitman scored 27 points in the fourth quarter of Wednesday's Central California Conference meeting with Merced High and the Pride went on to win, 71-56.


Jando Diaz led all scorers with 23 points and Leon Ohms knocked in eight of his 10 points in the fourth quarter alone to snap out of their losing funk and back on track for a league title, improving to a 6-2 CCC record, just one game behind 7-1 Turlock after Wednesday's games.


“Well... there is more stress now because each game is more important,” said Pitman head coach Harvey Marable.


With only two games remaining in the regular season, Pitman must win out if they wish to even discuss the possibility of a CCC title and coach Marable knows that.


“First thing we concentrated is on what we can control,” said Marable. “If we can take care of business we could secure a playoff spot and that was our job in this game; then anything else we need to take advantage of but with the Turlock loss we have a chance to play for something other than playoffs.”


There were definitely some scares in Wednesday's road meeting with Merced; it wasn't easy, although the point margin might suggest that.


Pitman went up 18-13 after the first quarter but Merced fought their way back in the second to tie it at 29 apiece at halftime.


“We shot poorly in the second quarter,” said Marable. “The second plagued us a bit but we didn't shoot well, better in the third, but defensively we picked up our assignments and carried it out like we’ve been talking about all season.”


The Pride came out of the halftime break with something to prove and they did, going up 44-39 after the third.


The rally carried and Pitman never trailed for the remainder of the game, holding on with their effective defense that has proven to help them win games.


Four players scored in double figures for Pitman. Micah Millentree added 10 and Chris Hanham was second in scoring for the night with 11 points.


“It was real spread out, just a great job by everyone to step up and do what was asked of them,” said Marable. “A great team effort and the ball was well spread out.”


Pitman outscored Merced 27-17 in the fourth and final quarter, including a 14-7 run in the final three minutes to secure the win.


AJ Stewart had a team-high 23 points for the Merced Bears.


Pitman's next game will be against 5-3 Buhach Colony at 7:15 p.m. Friday